Chandeliers and Instincts

When I started my quest to find an assisted living facility for my mother, I pinged friends and close acquaintances who had already traveled this road. Which gave me the benefit of a variety of opinions, all based on individual personal experiences.

One friend suggested I seek out non-profit versus for-profit facilities, because of his experiences in the area where we both live. He said he discovered a higher quality, and a more affordable, level of care with non-profits.

Another friend suggested I visit the facility during the week as well as on the weekend before I would make my final decision. This would enable me to see if the facility maintained the same level of care throughout a seven-day week. And once my mother was a resident of a facility, I should vary my visitation schedule rather than always coming on the same days at the same times. She said she had overheard conversations at one facility she had been considering for her mother where the staff bragged they only had to be on their best behavior when they knew a family member would be visiting.

Another gal pal, who is a nurse by profession, recommended I check out the ratio of nurses to residents, to ensure the facility was adequately staffed. And another told me if I walked into the lobby of a facility and there was a fancy chandelier hanging from the ceiling and no residents lounging around…I should run away quickly. Very quickly.

I had a giant question mark over my head at that comment. So, I asked for an explanation of his reasoning. He told me that in his experience, there are those facilities which feature luxurious public spaces to impress the family members making the decision of where to place their elderly. But once he investigated further, he found the quality of care was below acceptable standards. Therefore, his qualifier for these types of facilities was a fancy chandelier in the lobby.

Yet every opinion, to a person, told me I would know which was the right facility for my mother when I saw it. And that I should do my research and maintain my due diligence, but I was to trust my instincts above all else.

And they were right. After many months of searching for a quality facility for my mother, I found two which met all my criteria. And while my instincts were leaning towards one facility, which felt right from the moment I walked in, I knew my mother’s vote was as important. So I took her for a tour of both facilities, where she met the staff and was able to see where she would live and have meals and participate in activities.

Turns out her instincts were leaning towards the same facility as mine were leading me. And we were fortunate there was an opening that met with our schedule for her to move from living independently into assisted living.

Funny thing, though. When I first walked into the lobby of the building where my mother now resides, there were no residents lounging about, because of the time of day I was there. I saw a beautifully decorated room with sitting areas and original paintings on the walls. I looked up and noticed an ornate ceiling medallion with an elaborate lighting fixture. And while I wouldn’t consider it to be a traditional chandelier, it did give me pause.

However, once I met with the administrator and toured the facility, and was introduced to other staff members, I knew I was in the right place. I trusted my instincts, and so far…that decision has far outweighed any aversion to chandeliers.

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